USMLE Step 1 Experience – 253
I wanted to share my experience much earlier but after step 1 I decided to go on a 2 month vacation.
I took 6 months to study for step 1. From June to Janurary.
Took the test on Janurary 21th 2013.
The resources I used:
High Yield Neuroanatomy- Which I read 3x. The book is amazing. Has everything First Aid should have.
High Yield Behavioral- Just skimed through the book. Didn’t really like it too much
High Yield Molecular biology. Skimmed through the high yield stuff. Helped a bit with some of the lower yield items I kept forgetting. But not essential either.
BRS physiology- I loved this book. Helped build a strong fondation for everything. Read it 4x
Pathoma. Watched the videos 3x. Read the book about 6x. I absolutely loved pathoma. Its a must have.
BRS Pathology. I read it once. Nice book. But loved pathoma more because of how condense pathoma is.
Goljan pathology book. Read through it once. I felt reading it once was enough. Its a great resource even with 1 read. Never used the audio because I had pathoma.
Microcards + BRS Biochem Flashcards + Langes Pharm cards used these everyday in the morning and night. Had them memorized. This was my only sources for these topics and I didn’t miss a single question.
Pathology Langes flash cards. I borrowed them from a friend. Used them for about 2 weeks and never touched them again.
Robbins flash cards. I used them quite a bit early in my studies in the first few months but stopped using them.
DIT I went through it twice. Its great and it really focuses on the high yield topics. Its really more of a last minute cram then to learn from.
And FIRST AID. The golden book. With studying this resource alone and having it memorized someone could pass easily with 220. But adding the other resouces from books and qbanks into it….PRICELESS. I read this book 6x.
Here are some of my NBME scores:
NBME 7 330/182
NBME 6 470/214
NBME 5 600/245
NBME 11 540/231
NBME 12 560/235
NBME 13 590/242
UWORLD ASSESSMENT 1 242
UWORLD ASSESSMENT 2 263
Kaplan Assessment test 1 74%
Kaplan Assessment test 2 79%
UWORLD 1st run- 69% 2nd run- 90% (Finished half)
USMLERX 88% (finished 75% of it)
First Aid Q&A 85%
NMS for step 1 65%
The orders of my qbanks were Uworld first, Kaplan, NMS, First Aid Q&A, Uworld 2nd run with USMLErx switching off every other day.
Everything I got wrong or didn’t understand I wrote in a notebook and read every other day. By the end of studying all the qbanks I probably had written 18 notebooks of notes.
I was doing USMLErx about 3 to 4 blocks a day. Reviewed just my incorrect. I was only trying to build endurance for the test so I wouldn’t tire. At this point I finally stopped using my flash cards because 4 blocks a day was getting time consuming.
Hung out with my best friend. We had a beer and just went to the park. It was a lot of fun. Totally forgot I was taking the test till I came home to my parents where they stressed me out. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to sleep so I took a melatonin. It worked perfect. I slept like a rock at midnight and woke up around 8am. My test was at 10am.
Just went through a few notes. Talked to my parents. Ate a small breakfast but packed a lot of snacks. Went to star bucks before heading to prometrics and bought a huge coffee. Every break I took I went to it and took the biggest gulps to make sure I was still focused.
As for breaks.
Did 1st and 2nd block back to back. After 2nd block took a 10min break and then 3rd block. Took a 10min break. Then did the 4th block. 20 min break. 5th block. 10 min break. 6 block. 10 min break. Final block. I made sure I took a break even though I didn’t think I needed one. I wanted to make sure fatigue was not a factor into me rushing my answers. I would finish most blocks with 15mins left. After reviewing the blocks I usually still had about 7 mins left so I just sat there and waited for my break.
The actual test
Was easier then any nbme I had taken.
The questions weren’t very difficult. The ones that I did get stomped on (maybe 2 per block) I would just answer quickly and move on from it.
No specific topic jumps out as being a majority. I thought it was well distributed in most subjects.
What I’ve learned from the experience
My strongest resource were questions. In the end, I may have done 12,000+ questions. I saw questions ask a certain topic in almost every angle. So if I was to advise you all what I would say is a must. It would be questions, questions, questions. And remember this test isn’t impossible. Its just a question which you’ve practiced over and over. Anyone can score well when they stick there mind to it.
Ask anything guys I’ll try to keep answering as long as i can.
If this experience helped you, check out the following experiences: